February 11th, 2014

Taking the Infinite Leap

Most of the newer designed cars have five speeds while leading-edge models have six. Some transmissions however, have taken the leap to an “infinite” number of speeds courtesy of the continuously variable transmission or CVT. The most common kind of CVT makes use of steel belts on pulleys that can change their diameter to allow for a smoothly changing range of gear ratios.

CVT is not a new technology and has been occasionally used in compact cars where the transmission’s torque limitations can be accommodated. However, improvements in CVT and belt design are increasing the amount of torque which the transmission can handle. The benefits associated with using CVT include reduced fuel consumption, smooth acceleration and the facilitation of lower emissions.

April 4th, 2013

Shopping Wisely for a Used Car

A readily recognizable disadvantage of buying used cars as compared to new ones is the need to probe into the sometimes complicated matter of vehicle history. Although buying a new car does not entirely free a buyer from the responsibility of reasonable inquiry and research work, the danger of ending up with a problematic car is far more probable in the used car scenario. Obviously, previous ownership/s matter in determining the real condition of the car.

Previous owners handle vehicles in different ways especially in manner of operation and maintenance. Very few owners can be very straightforward with regards to damages incurred by their cars due to accidents or unforeseen events such as flooding. This is obviously because such information always affects their negotiating power as to pricing, negatively. Sellers would naturally highlight positive points rather than the negative ones since they are out to get the best price for the car they are selling. This is where the buyer’s ability to ferret out critical information comes in.

As an initial precaution, buyers should be aware that cars that may have already been branded as totaled or flooded can find their way back to the legitimate market through unscrupulous means. This is the reason why it is very important to run an Autocheck Vehicle History Report on every used car being considered for purchase. This report can contain data from a big number of dealers as well as after market repair shops. It is also necessary to get the services of a reliable mechanic to check on possible crash damages, corrosion and fluid leaks. Buyers should be armed with thoroughly researched information on the prevailing selling price in the market to serve as a guide for negotiating the price.

There are several other things to check including the odometer’s actual mileage, number of previous owners including the purpose for which the vehicle was used such as a rental car or government vehicle. Legitimate owners have possession of the certificate of title of their respective vehicles. Only the titles of vehicles under lien for outstanding loan obligation are usually held by the lender. The inability of the seller to present the title should send out warning bells of a possible stolen vehicle.

Many shoppers today choose to avoid the hassle of owner to owner purchases and head online instead. Whether it's Edmuns in the U.S., Auto Trader in the U.K. or carsales.com.au, the internet had revolutionized the way we shop for cars.

December 6th, 2012

Safety – the Foremost Concern in Family Vehicles

Primarily designed to carry people from one place to another, cars should be equipped with features that would ensure safety of its passengers. Car safety becomes an even more major concern when the vehicle is intended to serve the needs of a family. Although entertainment features ensure that kids stay pacified during the trip, it is the safety features that could guarantee that the family is protected enough to be able to enjoy the many joys of life such as entertainment. Car safety basics include anti-lock brakes (ABS), side-curtain bags and electronic stability control (ESC). Through the rapid application of intermittent brake pressure, ABS is able to prevent a vehicle’s wheel from locking up. This feature provides an average driver more control during emergency situations. Generally offered for front occupants only due to potential injury risk to kids in child-safety seats, the side-curtain bags provide protection to the torso in side-impact crashes and also help keep passengers inside the vehicle in an event of a roll-over. ESC gives the driver more control during maneuvers that are urgent in nature. It uses sensors for close monitoring of the vehicle’s actual path as related to the intended path using inputs on steering, brake and throttle. Families with small children should also consider child safety-seat compatibility. It would even be a wise move to bring the safety seats during the test drive to determine correct fit. Rear parking sensors or rear-mounted cameras make the driver aware of objects behind the vehicle when it is in reverse. This feature is especially useful in areas where there are small children who can easily not be seen by a driver of a large vehicle. Other features to look out for include a tire-pressure monitoring system, active head restraints and advanced frontal airbags. An onboard crash notification system is designed to summon emergency assistance. Incidentally, a vehicle’s crash test scores provide an important insight to its protection capability. Euro NCAP, Europe’s leading authority on auto safety, named the Ford Focus the "Best in Class" small family car 2011 in recognition of the vehicle’s crash test rating and advanced safety technology. It made headlines as the first high volume car receiving four Euro NCAP Advanced rewards for their implemented technologies "Driver Alert", "Forward Alert", “Active City Stop” and "Lane Keeping Aid technologies". In the category large family car the Volvo V60 has been rewarded in particular for their "City Safety" features. Even though both makes and models haven’t been upgraded recently their 2012 ratings reflect their performance against Euro NCAP's latest requirements – both still cutting-edge vehicles.

December 4th, 2012

The Hybrid Advantage

In a bid to find the most environment-friendly vehicle that is both sustainable and practical to use, hybrids present the best possible answer so far. Hybrid vehicles combine two or more different propulsion systems, usually a gasoline engine plus one or more electric drive motors. Diesel engines as well as engines running on other alternative fuels can also be used for this purpose. With a very low level of tailpipe emission and more miles per gallon compared to non-hybrid counterparts, hybrids are enjoying a fairly high demand from car buyers.

Hybrid vehicles cost more than a regular vehicle but it managed to capture its own market as they are seen as high efficiency cars. Calculations will show that the higher cost may actually be offset since less fuel needs to be used. Savings however become more evident only over time. Federal incentives in the form of tax credits that came with the initial offerings of most hybrid models have already been phased out due to the attainment of specific numbers in sales. This would show that a higher cost may not necessarily be a liability as long as the advantages to be derived are real and can readily be appreciated.

Price comparisons between hybrids and non-hybrids may not be exactly simple because of the various features found on hybrid models that are not present in non-hybrid models. Continued high demand is expected to be a critical factor for a good resale value when sold after a few years. Battery replacement is not yet seen as one of the immediate cost concerns as batteries are expected to last for a long time. However, because of the present high cost of a battery pack, proponents of the hybrid technology are seriously looking for ways to address such problem even before it comes.

Hybrid vehicles make use of a technology that is environmentally positive. It also helps in reducing oil dependency especially from foreign sources. Lesser pollution has its unlimited benefits. These are just some of the advantages of using hybrid vehicles.

April 22nd, 2012

Where Comfort and Luxury Meet

An automobile is so much more than a means of transportation.  Cars are status symbols and forms of luxury. Expensive cars are usually compact sports cars or five-seater cars.  However, a large comfortable car such as the Infiniti QX SUV can be equally luxurious.  From the lavish interior to the state-of-the-art technology to the fabulous entertainment systems and top-notch performance and security features, The Infinity QX SUV does not disappoint.

A total of eight passengers can fit in the spacious interior of the SUV. Alternatively the seats can be folded down for 3171.5 liters worth of cargo storage space. All three rows of seats are designed with luxury in mind. Soft and fine leather is used to cover the seats and the first row seats are heated.

The 5.6 liter engine and 400 horse power makes for a powerful and dependable vehicle.  The Infinity does not just have one camera but four, providing one with an all-around view. The new layered safety technology provides an extra level of security.

When it comes to entertainment, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Tri-Zone entertainment system provides the personal entertainment experience. There are two 7-inch screens, each capable of playing its own movies and games, while music is playing up front.  There is also storage space for remotes and headphones, along with other electronic devices. The cabin boasts a surround sound system, and of course the driver has control of the stereo from the steering wheel.

An SUV does not just have to be comfortable and convenient.  It's not just about fitting as many people as possible, as much luggage as it can take, or being powerful. It can also be extra luxurious, full of extras and pampering items.  The Infinity QX SUV is the combination of comfort and luxury. It’s where the two meet.

April 20th, 2012

Buying a Car

It is the owner alone who can truly determine whether a particular car is right for him or not. The features required and the actual cost range he can afford are more often than not, known only to him. In short, no trend or pressure should ever prevent anyone from finding the right car that suits him.

Granting that a prospective buyer already knows what he’s looking for, preferably through lots of research work, there still remains the question of where to look so that the best incentives can be made available to him as well. Buying a car after all is not only about getting what you want but making sure that you can afford it or at least have affordable payment schemes to choose from. A big investment such as buying a car requires prudent decision making so that the buyer will come out of the deal feeling that he has paid a fair price. This would entail understanding the sometimes complicated pricing system of car dealerships.

Buyers should be cautious of cars offered with incentives such as cash rebate or low-interest financing. The best incentives are usually provided to models that are not particularly popular in sales, thus the need for the buyer to determine the reason. It can happen that a disadvantageous feature to many may actually be an advantage to one buyer. Nothing beats getting one’s desired features at a better price deal.

A car’s sticker price is usually pointed to as the selling price. Dealerships are generally willing to sell a car below the sticker price so it helps to know the average price in which buyers are actually paying for the same type of car in a particular area. Prospective buyers now have the option to shop for a car through the Internet. Test-driving a car however, requires physical presence so that the buyer would have an actual feel of the car he is buying. The decision to buy a particular car should happen when the buyer is convinced that he has found the right car at a fair price.

November 29th, 2011

Adventure, Guts and Supremacy

A brilliantly simple and inventive work-focused vehicle made of aluminum produced the first Land Rover. It was developed by brothers Spencer and Maurice Wilks while working for the British car company, Rover. This vehicle combined utilitarian simplicity with rugged, dependable quality.

At present, Land Rover manufactures permanent all-wheel-drive vehicles exclusively. This is the reason why Land Rover’s values – adventure, guts and supremacy – clearly shine through its vehicles. It has successfully traveled from being a basic utilitarian product into an automotive icon that it is today. Its models continue to redefine the world’s 4 x 4 categories year after year.

November 24th, 2011

The Making of BMW

BMW prides itself as the maker of the ultimate driving machine but it is quite interesting to note that it started out as a manufacturer of aircraft engines. The 3-letter acronym stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke or Bavarian Motor Works. Motor forms the key part of every product built by BMW.

The personalities behind the original BMW included Karl Friedrich Rapp who earlier established Rapp-Motorenwerke and Gustav Otto of Gustav Flugmaschinefabrik. Otto was the son of the man who invented the four-stroke internal combustion engine. Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke or Bavarian Aircraft Works was formed when the two companies merged. It soon became the Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH and was formally reorganized as such in March 7, 1916. Keep reading →

September 27th, 2011

Filling the Gap

Mercury holds the distinction of being the only vehicle brand other than Ford to be created from within the Ford Motor Company family. It filled the gap in product line between the economical Ford and the luxury Lincoln. It has proven a versatile and enduring brand over the years as it effectively balanced luxury and affordability.

The vehicle line got its name from the Roman god, Mercury who was the fleet footed winged messenger and god of commerce who symbolized dependability, elegance, speed and skill. Henry Ford completely separated Mercury from Ford and established Lincoln Mercury. Its latest offering is the redesigned 2008 Mariner and 2008 Sable which both feature crisp exterior lines while having the latest in driving technology, one of which is the voice-activated, in-car SYNC communication and entertainment system which was developed in collaboration with Microsoft.

August 4th, 2011

U.S. vs. Japan Auto Wars

The car industry has gone through much turmoil over the past 3 years with the slow decline of U.S. car makers driving them to literal bankruptcy followed by one of the fastest turnarounds the industry has seen in decades. This new situation raises the old time question of who makes the better vehicle - U.S. or Japanese car makers. The folks at Infographic Labs have come up with this graphical representation of the current state of the U.S.Japan car war.